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Many people have a lot of myths about what being an entrepreneur is and how it will shape/affect their life that are simply not true. A Famous South African Entrepreneur in Sandton and these are the seven biggest myths that I continuously hear.

1. Being an Entrepreneur is too risky for me.

Starting your own business in these days is not too much more risky than trying for any other corporate job. At a corporate job you can be laid off at any time, Small Business Success Stories South Africa  have benefits cut with no reason, and work long overtime without being compensated for that. If you are student as well, the risk can’t be that bad. It’s not like you have a mortgage or family to support if it fails.

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2. I am too young to start my own company

Being young is not a negative, in fact in most cases it’s a positive! When your young you have the passion energy and enthusiasm that is needed to work 14 hour days day in and day out for a company you believe in. Most older people with more experience just don’t want to do that any more.

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3. I have no experience

Again, A Famous South African Entrepreneur this can work towards your advantage. Your lack of experience means that you are looking at everything with a fresh set of eyes. You wont get stuck in the “we have always done it that way” kind of thinking that can stop other entrepreneurs. Running your own company will also build much more valuable experiences than a job flipping burgers will at your age.

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4. It is not the right time for me to launch a business.

As a student you have a schedule that is completely flexible and large blocks of time between classes and on breaks to start a business. Campuses have tons of resources you can harness as well, Successful Entrepreneurs Stories In South Africa so there really has never been a better time than now.

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5. If I am running a business my grades will fall.

Running a business takes organization and discipline. If you are organized and disciplined in one area of your life it will probably pass over to the other areas of your life as well. Many student entrepreneurs I know actually report their grades increasing once they started a business.

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6. Student businesses are just small rinky-dink operations

Some student business that started as just rinky-dink operations were Dell, Google, and Microsoft. You have probably heard of those companies right? That is because they were great ideas and hard work created products that had potential to expand from their small beginnings. Your business can too!

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7. I don’t have any money! I can’t start a company

Everyone seems to think only millionaires start companies. This is simply not true. Most companies are started with the founders savings and no investment capital. Start with what you can and work hard. Things will come together if you want them to come together. You will be amazed at what you can do!

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Successful Entrepreneurs Are...

1. Visionaries

They see beyond obstacles. They focus on possibilities rather than
dwelling on limitations.

We hear many stories of men and women who have created great
enterprises from ideas others had rejected or said will never work. We are
inspired the most by stories of those who succeeded against all odds. As
an entrepreneur, you have the need to create, to start something that never
was or to improve upon an exciting product or concept. To bring forth
something new does not come without challenges.

Choose not to dwell on what you don’t have (lack of money, time, support
or other resources). Make a choice to focus on what needs to be done to
manifest your idea and then make it happen! No more excuses! Stop
blaming others, your circumstances or yourself for why things don’t turn
out as you thought they would. When we choose to focus on abundance
rather than lack, we harness the power to create and attract what we need
to achieve success. Those with sight see what is, but those with vision see
what can be. What are the possibilities in your life, what are the
possibilities for your business?

2. Strategists

They plan well, and execute effectively.

Sun Tzu, in his book, “The Art of War” he wrote, “the art of war is a
matter of life and death, a road to either safety or to ruin. The art of war is
governed by five critical factors. These are the way, the weather, the
terrain, the leadership and the discipline." Without a solid business
strategy, you become, by default, reactive rather than proactive. Reactive
businesses cannot grow into sustainable and competitive enterprises
because there is no roadmap to do so. Sun Tzu's five critical factors apply to contemporary business strategy as much as they do to historical military operations. To drive your business
using the art of strategy, it is essential to establish or clarify the overall
vision and goals of the organization (the way); understand the operating
environment facing the business (the terrain); develop objectives and
specific strategies for the organization to address (the weather); ensure
strong management to guide and motivate staff and to implement the
strategies in a timely manner (the leadership); and develop a robust
organizational structure, effective supply chain management and ensure
that performance is monitored against the stated objectives (the
discipline).1

Entrepreneurs often have great ideas, but in a zest to make it a reality, fail
to plan properly. This failure to plan can sink even the best of ideas.
Address the 5 critical factors as soon as possible by creating your strategic
plan if you haven’t already done so. If you have already created your
strategic plan, it doesn’t hurt to give it the once over to ensure all the
critical factors have been addressed.

3. Problem - Solvers

They see a problem as an opportunity for growth and strategically seek
resolutions.

Are you solutions-oriented? How do you react when faced with a business
problem? Problems are just opportunities for growth and development in
disguise. Problems test you; they challenge you to change the way that
you think. There are thousands, if not millions of great inventions born
from perceived problems or accidents.

George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, returned from a walk one day in
1948 and found some cockleburs clinging to his cloth jacket. When de
Mestral loosened them, he examined one under his microscope. The
cocklebur is a maze of thin strands with burrs (or hooks) on the ends that
cling to fabrics or animal fur. By the accident of the cockleburs sticking to
his jacket, George de Mestral recognized the potential for a practical new
fastener. It took eight years to experiment, develop, and perfect the
invention, which consists of two strips of nylon fabric. VELCRO, the
name de Mestral gave his product, is the brand most people in the United
States know. It is strong, easily separated, lightweight, durable, and
washable, comes in a variety of colors, and won’t jam.2

Learn from George. Begin to look forward to your next problem; if you
look carefully enough, it may be a great blessing in disguise. What
creative and/or strategic solutions can you come up with and implement?

4. Risk -Takers

They are not afraid to challenge the status quo nor, are they afraid to take
the road less traveled.

The great people of this world are not the ones who did what had always
been done, they are the ones who stood up and said, “how I can do this
differently”? Great people are bold, they dare to dream, and they are
courageous in their endeavors. Little people are timid; they are scared to
dream and to avoid disappointment they refrain from great endeavors. It is
better to try and risk not reaching the desired end, than never to try and
never know what could have been. The level of success you may desire to
achieve may not have been paved by any before you. You may not be only
taking the road less traveled, but a road never traveled.

In order to succeed, sometimes you have to break the cycle of what
everyone says is fact and believe in what you know to be true. Christopher
Columbus knew the truth that the world was round even when the facts of
his age said it was flat. What would have happened if Columbus accepted
the norm and didn’t challenge the status quo? This is not to say do not
heed good advice, as a matter of fact it is wise to seek good counsel. But
there are times when we have to make choices, small ones and big ones
alike that are contrary to popular opinion. These are the times when you
must separate the facts from the truth. The fact may be that you have a
great business idea, but no money to get it off the ground; however, the
truth is that you live surrounded by an abundance of all you need to get
your business off the ground but you have to learn how to tap into it. This
is where you must be creative, do something that you have never done
before; boldly seek partnerships, mentors and coaches to help you. Are
you afraid to take bold risks? Will you be content with playing it safe and
spending the rest of your life wondering what could have been?

5. Servant-Leaders

They realize serving precedes leading.

A servant leader does not just focus on the bottom line but focuses on how
she can be of service to others. A servant leadership model is an inverted
pyramid in which the president of an organization is at the lowest point of
the triangle and the customer is at the broadest edge as opposed to your
traditional leader on top of the organization model.

Robert Greenleaf is credited with the term servant leader. In his book,
Servant Leadership, Greenleaf noticed that the most successful
managers led in a very different way - they led through service rather than
through positional authority.

Resolve today that your leadership, as an entrepreneur, is not purely self-
satisifying and profit motivating. Leadership is not about control and
manipulation, as it is only in service that one becomes great. Resolve to
be of service to your employees, shareholders, clients, suppliers and all
those you come in contact with.

If you are interested in learning more about servant leadership many
universities even community programs offer courses on the subject.
It is a worthwhile investment.

6. Survivors

They don't quit. Instead, they fail forward to success.

Your first business venture may not work out as planned. Maybe neither
will your second venture or third. It is important to know that because
things don’t always turn out as planned, it does not mean you are a failure.
Your business may have failed, but you have not! Smart entrepreneurs
learn from what didn’t work instead of throwing in the towel all together.
Robert Kiyosaki actually said in one of his books that, unlike employees
entrepreneurs get paid to fail. What a strange statement, but it is true!
Entrepreneurs learn something valuable every time things go awry. As
humans we are programmed to learn by our mistakes more than our
successes. Did you know how to ride a bike the first time you got on one?
Could you use chopsticks as effortlessly as you can now? No! You learned
from your mistakes and eventually, you got it right.
By giving up, you throw away the opportunity to ever succeed. Every
time you stumble or fall in your entrepreneurial undertakings, rejoice, as
you are one step closer to success! You may have to change what you are
doing slightly or dramatically but whatever you do, don't quit!

1 [http://www.grantthornton.ca/mgt_papers/MIP_template.asp?MIPID=29]
2 http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/story015.htm

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I believe the spiritual aspect of life, especially to entrepreneurs, is very important. While business may be the focal point for an entrepreneur's life, it's your outlook on life that shapes what kind of person you are.

Having a strong sense of self can benefit your business in many ways. The down periods and business 'tragedies' are not so bad for the entrepreneur that is spiritually centred. Don't take life too seriously is a phrase that every entrepreneur should take to heart and remember during the ups and downs of business.

I just finished reading a blog post from an entrepreneur friend of mine about meditation. My friend is meditating, and he's doing it a lot, which I find quite admirable. If he isn't careful he might give up business all together and follow the path of the monk searching for enlightenment, which may not be such a bad thing and perhaps even more rewarding than business ever could be.

I've attempted meditation for many reasons but more often as a method to deal with tough times in my life. I realise the need for meditation and spirituality during all times of life but as I'm sure many of you can identify with me when I say I don't look for help when times are great, I'm too busy revelling in the excitement.

As an entrepreneur I consider myself quite a creative person. I'm not gifted in art or music but certainly as a writer and business creator/manager I feel that I am definitely more bohemian than most. I think most entrepreneurs feel the same because we are not following the same path a lot of other people take when they work a normal job. Often the thought of a 'job' is not appealing and the prospect of working 9-5 for a salary is daunting. We take a risk by being different and expose ourselves to the often adverse opinions of those that believe we are making a mistake by not seeking a standard career. It takes a person of strong character and personal convictions to stand up to what can be a barrage of negative feedback from your peers and family.

I'm also more sensitive to my environment and the people around me. I live a controlled life and make sure that I eat well, sleep plenty and by choice I don't drink any alcohol. I have nothing against drinking (in moderation), it's just a choice I've made. I don't party hard on weekends, again by choice because I prefer to get a good nights sleep so I feel good during the day. Because of this I don't get sick too often (touch wood) and I feel at the top of my game everyday. I'm not saying do what I do, it's possible to party and drink and have a good time and be a very successful entrepreneur, just remember moderation and balance and your health should always be your primary concern.

A spiritually fulfilling life can be very rewarding. It provides a strong personal framework that offers stability during tough times and allows you to keep perspective when business is booming. It's not easy to be disciplined but as usual, for those that put the effort in the rewards are there.

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